From time to time, I am invited back to my high school to talk about my journey since graduation. I never know why they keep inviting me back as I usually feel like I haven’t got much to say. So when I was told that I had 30 minutes to speak to the junior school (year 7 and 8’s), I totally blanked out.
But the more I thought about it, the more I realised that I do have some words of wisdom. These are things that I had not truly appreciated or understood while I was at high school. Interestingly enough, it was diabetes that reminded me of these, especially with the current #beyondA1c movement.
So my biggest message for them today was that there is life beyond numbers.
During the last few years of high school, it feels like your life is dictated by your ATAR score, which is the score you get from your high school exams. I remember feeling that my entire life depended on this number and it scared me. Then it hit me that this dread was like waiting for my HbA1c results and the overwhelming apprehension of having a “bad” result.
But you know what?
Those numbers are exactly what they are.
Numbers are information from a point in time. It’s how you deal with those numbers and your decisions from there that are important. Yes, they influence your decisions but you shouldn’t obsess over it. Always have a plan A, B, C, all the way through the alphabet if you need to. Plan for each outcome and be strategic about it. You are the driving force in your life.
Most importantly, remember there is so much more to life than numbers. The memories from the events around us and the relationships we have with people are what we should focus on. Without diabetes, I wouldn’t have met some of the most amazing people in my life who I am so proud to call my friends. They make life with diabetes worthwhile and easier to deal with, especially on the crappy days. We certainly don’t talk about our A1c’s!
The same applies to high school and the ATAR score. I don’t remember what my score was but the memories and life lessons I took away from Elwood College definitely shaped how I reflect on my high school experience and the person I am today.